Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation) (1 Viewer)

jpr333

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Re: Subject Reviews

stazi said:
the finals will affect the ease of the subject. also, so will some upcoming topics (e.g. for ecmt1010 you may cover super-mega-hard regression in the last few weeks)
More like memorise a few things on an excel output :p
 

tennille

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Re: Subject Reviews

CHEM2911
Pretty interesting. The Spectroscopy and Aromatic Organic Chemistry is quite good. The Quantum stuff is not so good, especially when the lecturer is quite boring. The last part of the lecture series included an overview of AAS, AES and other methods of analysing samples- it was quite boring.

BCHM2971
The course wasn't too detailed so studying for it wasn't too difficult. The practicals aren't too bad.

MBLG2071
I enjoyed everything except Iain Campbell's lectures. No matter how many times I read over them, I couldn't understand anything. The lectures are fairly detailed, but the practicals are very enjoyable, especially the DNA Fingerprinting prac where you analyse your own DNA sample.

STAT2011
Quite a difficult course. Didn't enjoy it that much, especially when the lecturer is a deadshit.
 

stazi

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Re: Subject Reviews

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For those considering doing the subjects next year:

MKTG 1001 - Marketing principles
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 6/10 (if you're not that interested in the advertising and psychological components of marketing) 7/10 if you are.
Interest (ambiguous, as some people like maths others dont. some like hot chocolate. others like rape.): 7.5/10
Overall: 6.5/10

ECOP1001 - Economics as a social science
Ease: 7/10
Lecturer: 10/10
Interest: 9/10
Overall: 10/10 (can't recommend this enough, i'm sure everyone will agree)

WORK1001 - Foundations of Industrial Relations (to be transformed with work1002 into work1003)
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 10/10
Interest: 7.5/10
Overall: 8.5/10 (Great lecturer. Hillarious)

ECMT1010 - Econometrics
Ease: 3/10 (but I didn't do maths in year 11/12)
Lecturer: Tig - 7.5/10; Murray Smith - 0.5/10
Interest: 2/10
Overall: 2/10

WORK1002 - Foundations of HRM (transformed into work1003)
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 7.5/10
Interest: 6/10
Overall: 7/10

GOVT1406 - international business and politics
Ease: 5/10 (3 assessments in 5 weeks!!! - also marks very harshly)
Lecturer: 7/10
Interest: 5.5/10
Overall: 4/10

MKTG1002 - Marketing Research
Ease: 8/10 - but you'll have to do a harder course combining 1002 and 3001
Lecturer: 7/10 - a bit quiet but a top bloke
Interest: 6/10
Overall: 6.5/10

MKTG2002 - Consumer Behaviour
Ease: 8.5/10
Lecturer: Same as for mktg1001
Interest: 8.5/10
Overall: 8/10

IBUS3101 - fun assessments, but they don't really test course content. The bulk is an online strategy game, however, if you don't do well in week 1, you're pretty much screwed.
Lecturer - 8/10
Ease - 8.5/10
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 7/10
 
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absolution*

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Re: Subject Reviews

ACCT2012 - pretty boring, too many annoying asians
Lecturer - 5/10
Ease - 8/10
Interest: 3/10
Overall: 5/10

ECOP2011 - pretty fun, good lectures, good content, fairly bludgy
Lecturer - 8.5/10
Ease - 8/10
Interest: 8.5/10
Overall: 8.5/10

CLAW1001 - didnt go to any lectures, pretty fucking easy, pretty interesting
Lecturer - N/A
Ease - 8.5/10
Interest: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

GOVT2226 - very difficult exam, only one big assessment, quite a lot of readings, very hardlined on rules, definitely not for one wanting to take it easy
Lecturer - 5/10
Ease - 5/10
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 7/10
 

tlodg

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Re: Subject Reviews

brogan77, why is ACCT 1002 gay?
and was last year's fail rate really 40%?


I really wish that I don't hear too many people chatting in class anymore....

I get so fucking pissed in some classes coz I couldn't hear the lecturer (even when I sit at the very front row....some ignorant people choose to sit at the very front and still dare to fucking chat); there are way tooooooooooooooo many selfish people who fucking talk so loud and rudely like everyone else is invisible, and I couldn't do anything about it.
 

Generator

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Re: Subject Reviews

ECOP 1001 Economics as a Social Science
Lecturer - 9/10
Ease - 8/10
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 7/10

HSTY 2614 Australian Social History
Lecturer - 7/10
Ease - 7/10
Interest: 1/10
Overall: 3/10

HSTY 2670 New York, New York
Lecturer - 9/10
Ease - 7/10
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 5/10
 
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xiao1985

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Re: Subject Reviews

re: acct1002, MB is alright... i kinda enjoyed it, though rushin report 1 night before wasn't cool... not at all... =(

this sem:

organic chem : 10/10 deadly easy subject... nit claims he could do the questions in yr 8...

industrial chem: 4/10 so hard...!!! so HARD!!

infs1000: 8/10 though course structure is a mess, lecturers are crap, assessments =WTFOMGBBQ, still, very useful in real life

mktg1001: 10/10 though got crap results, robyn martin + paul henry made this subject do'able
 

Xayma

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Re: Subject Reviews

AERO2703 Aerospace Technology
Lecturer - 9/10
Ease - 7/10
Interest - 7/10
Overall: 7/10

The assessment structure is debateable with the tutor seeming to make more on how you do it rather then if it is correct and you showed how you did it.

PHYS 2911 Physics 2A Adv
Lecturer - 9/10, 7/10
Ease - 9/10
Interest - 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Good, athough the Nuclear and Particle Physics (only three weeks) gives minimal new information.

AMME2301
Lecturer - 1/10
Ease - 6/10
Interest - 1/10
Overall: 1/10

The lectureres were both terrible, tutorial structure was fucked, I'll probably do bad because I couldn't bring myself to attend the lectures partially because of the lecturers but because Engineers to be are generally fuckwits. Although Attendence vs mark should be high.

MATH2961
Lecturer - 6/10
Ease - 6/10
Interest - 8/10
Overal: 7/10

8am maths lectures are even worse then in first year.
 

c_james

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Re: Subject Reviews

LAWS1006 - Foundations of Law
Lecturer: 8/10 - Friendly, knowledgeable, approachable - pretty much the tri-factor. Was a bit inconsistent with the marking, though.
Ease: 6/10 - Not easy, but not necessarily hard either. Difficulty is inversely proportional to the amount of reading you do each week - some weeks you'll be lost, others you'll be in your element.
Interest: 7/10 - The history is mostly crap. The philosophy behind law is an acquired taste (I liked it, personally, but most of the class didn't). It gets more interesting as the course culminates in international law/politics and issues such as Guantanamo Bay, which sparked some very engaging discussion. If you're not opinionated you will find this course not only hard, but intimidating.
OVERALL - 7/10

PHIL1011 - Reality, Ethics & Beauty
Lecturer: 6/10 - It's really a mixed bag here. Stewart Saunders (reality) was brilliant and hilarious, John Hadley (ethics) was dry and disorganised and MacArthur (beauty) sort of fell between the two in terms of competence.
Ease: 7/10 - It's easier than it initially appears. Once you get your head around the leading theorists and concepts, the rest falls into place. The exam is a bitch, especially since it's worth 60% of the final mark, although to be fair we got the pool of questions well in advance.
Interest: 9/10 - This is where it's at for your interest points. Questions regarding the existence of God, anyone? What acts are moral/ethical and who, if anyone, deems them so? Are there populist standards of morality or is it all just a culturally relativistic quagmire? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder, or are some thing universally beautiful? What is art? There are important philosophical questions in this course which will suit pretty much everyone.
OVERALL - 7/10

The other two will come soon, I gotta snooze.
 
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acmilan

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Re: Subject Reviews

Although im no longer here, for those looking for electives, i shall review COSC1002/1902. I took the advanced version (1902)

COSC1002/1902 - Most students are computing ones, but there will also be some physics and maths students too.

Lecturer - 8/10: Last years lecturer was Mike Wheatland. He isnt the best lecturer (although he's not bad), but his notes are awesome and well prepared. Probably the best ive seen. PM me if you want the complete 2005 notes.

Ease - 8/10: This subject probably favours people who are strong in maths more than computing. You'll have to learn C, but its just basic stuff like control flow. Pracs are pretty easy, most can be finished within the hour (of a 2 hour prac). Would give it 9, but the first prac assessment pretty much owned most people. He subsequently made the 2nd one easy, so maybe he'll continue to make them easy. Most of the final exam seems to be taken from previous year exams.

Interest - 7/10: Found the computing part boring (things about precision, errors), but the maths was pretty good. Continually solving DEs gets repetitive after a while.

Overall - 8/10: If you're good at maths a decent at programming i'd recommend it as a subject where HD is easily attainable.
 

SSaint

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Re: Subject Reviews

Here are mine for first semester:

ACCT1001 - Accounting IA
Ease: 8/10 Gets a little trickier at the end, but it's manageable
Lecturer: 3(7)/10 They got through the material well, too bad the lecturers are cunts
Interest: 7/10 It's relevant stuff, but a bit dry at times
Overall: 7/10

ECMT1010 - Bus. & Eco. Stats A
Ease: 6/10 Theres a reason why so many people fail
Lecturer: 5/10 Tig was nice, Murray's a tightarse and he speaks in a monotone, though i managed to learn shit during his lectures
Interest: 6/10 I hear 1020 is more interesting...
Overall: 5/10 Most boring course this semester by far

ECON1001 - Intro. Microeconomics
Ease: 8/10 The concepts were easy enough to grasp
Lecturer: 6/10 I had Natalia, if you could work with the accent it was alright
Interest: 9/10 I like economics
Overall: 8/10

CLAW1001 - Commercial Transactions A
Ease: 8/10 The topics weren't too difficult and were taught well
Lecturer: 9/10 Giuseppe is a champ
Interest: 6/10 The law isn't my cup of tea
Overall: 6/10
 

cimbom

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Re: Subject Reviews

ECOP1001 - Economics as a Social Science
Ease: 7/10 The content is simple enough to understand, it's just actually knowing how to answer broad ecop1001 tutorial/assessment questions properly that is difficult.
Lecturer: 8/10 Frank Stilwell is a nice person that cares about students and the academic standards of the discipline and faculty. He's the most helpful and friendly staff member I've known so far at the university. He used to lecture in microeconomics, then together with some other people founded the political economy discipline at usyd. His lectures though are extremely similar to the actual text (that he authored)- I remember him even using the exact same examples/jokes from his book in lectures. So you really can replace lectures with the text. I found that the only thing extra in lectures were fun cartoons he put up on the overhead.
Interest: 6/10. I was interested in the beginning, but by the end it just seemed so pointless. Why learn about Marxist solutions to economic problems when the entire world operates within a variation of the neo- classical model? Do the policy rectifications hence not come from that?
Overall: 5/10. The whole subject is a general overview of the oh- so complex conflicting forms of economic thought. Political economy isn't that extraordinary. There is no direction in the unit other than a limited examination of classical political economy, marxism, keynesianism etc in a chronological sequence. It was very difficult for me to understand exactly what we were meant to analyse in assignments/ the exam. It is based in theory, but tutorials/lectures encourage a personal individual relation to such concepts rather than collective economic. Examining the Marxist labour theory of value, neo- classical quantity theory of money etc seemed pointless to me without any clear relation to policy. But I assume it will become more focused in further ecop units (which i will not be taking).

ECMT1010- Business and Economic Statistics A
Ease: 6/10 It's hard, but if you just sit down and focus you can get it. You have to put effort in.
Lecturer: 4/10 You CANNOT learn anything from Murray. Tig was cool- he explained things a little better, but for me textbook+lecture slides+workshop questions was how I understood the content.
Interest: 6/10 I don't know how you can be interested in statistics. It's just something you do, like maths.
Overall: 8/10. I only like it because I get it.

ECON1001 - Introductory Microeconomics
Ease: 8/10 Like ecmt, you need to focus, and then you can understand easy.
Lecturer: 6/10 Like ecmt, individual learning+tutorials was best. I had Natalia Ponomareva- apparently Andrew Wait is good?
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

GOVT1105- Geopolitics
Ease: 8/10. The exam required you to discuss specific details from the readings but it was easy enough to remember. Tutorial content, especially from the reader was more important than the generality of the lectures and text.
Lecturer: 9/10. Lectures were very interesting. Diarmuid Maguire speaks well, I don't get it when people say he's boring.
Interest: 10/10. I love govt+international relations.
Overall: 9/10. Geopolitics especially- examining how international relations are influenced by the economics etc of geography, is so cool.
 

bustinjustin

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Re: Subject Reviews

cimbom said:
ECOP1001 - Economics as a Social Science
Ease: 7/10 The content is simple enough to understand, it's just actually knowing how to answer broad ecop1001 tutorial/assessment questions properly that is difficult.
Lecturer: 8/10 Frank Stilwell is a nice person that cares about students and the academic standards of the discipline and faculty. He's the most helpful and friendly staff member I've known so far at the university. He used to lecture in microeconomics, then together with some other people founded the political economy discipline at usyd. His lectures though are extremely similar to the actual text (that he authored)- I remember him even using the exact same examples/jokes from his book in lectures. So you really can replace lectures with the text. I found that the only thing extra in lectures were fun cartoons he put up on the overhead.
Interest: 6/10. I was interested in the beginning, but by the end it just seemed so pointless. Why learn about Marxist solutions to economic problems when the entire world operates within a variation of the neo- classical model? Do the policy rectifications hence not come from that?
Overall: 5/10. The whole subject is a general overview of the oh- so complex conflicting forms of economic thought. Political economy isn't that extraordinary. There is no direction in the unit other than a limited examination of classical political economy, marxism, keynesianism etc in a chronological sequence. It was very difficult for me to understand exactly what we were meant to analyse in assignments/ the exam. It is based in theory, but tutorials/lectures encourage a personal individual relation to such concepts rather than collective economic. Examining the Marxist labour theory of value, neo- classical quantity theory of money etc seemed pointless to me without any clear relation to policy. But I assume it will become more focused in further ecop units (which i will not be taking).

GOVT1105- Geopolitics
Ease: 8/10. The exam required you to discuss specific details from the readings but it was easy enough to remember. Tutorial content, especially from the reader was more important than the generality of the lectures and text.
Lecturer: 9/10. Lectures were very interesting. Diarmuid Maguire speaks well, I don't get it when people say he's boring.
Interest: 10/10. I love govt+international relations.
Overall: 9/10. Geopolitics especially- examining how international relations are influenced by the economics etc of geography, is so cool.
Blasphemy!


I don't wish to dismiss your views because that would be as narrow-minded as what you've written. Your points have some validity but regardless of crossover between lectures and the textbook, listening to Frank is a lot more stimulating and engaging than reading the textbook - I, like many others didn't and couldn't miss Frank's lectures for the world. Moreover, in your response to your bewilderment at the study of Marxist Economics in ECOP, the point of it is to illuminate the problems that beleaguer the neo-liberal model of capitalism, problems that don't come to light through orthodox economics. Keep in mind that studying Marxist Economics won't make you a communist either, if that's what you feared.

I realise that I may come across as bigoted as a neo-liberalist by re-asserting the orthodox view that ECOP1001 and Frank's lectures are unmissable, but I just love Frank so much that I couldn't let you downplay his amazingness with that unflattering review of ECOP1001, which seems like scorn especially when you pour praise on Diarmuid Maguire and the Geopolitics course.
 
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cimbom

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Re: Subject Reviews

bustinjustin said:
Blasphemy!


I don't wish to dismiss your views because that would be as narrow-minded as what you've written. Your points have some validity but regardless of crossover between lectures and the textbook, listening to Frank is a lot more stimulating and engaging than reading the textbook - I, like many others didn't and couldn't miss Frank's lectures for the world. Moreover, in your response to your bewilderment at the study of Marxist Economics in ECOP, the point of it is to illuminate the problems that beleaguer the neo-liberal model of capitalism, problems that don't come to light through orthodox economics. Keep in mind that studying Marxist Economics won't make you a communist either, if that's what you feared.

I realise that I may come across as bigoted as a neo-liberalist by re-asserting the orthodox view that ECOP1001 and Frank's lectures are unmissable, but I just love Frank so much that I couldn't let you downplay his amazingness with that unflattering review of ECOP1001, which seems like scorn especially when you pour praise on Diarmuid Maguire and the Geopolitics course.
That's fine :) . I really am not suggesting replacing lectures with the textbook, I'm just saying that it is indeed entirely possible. I too enjoyed Frank's lectures, but they barely went further than what he'd already discussed in his text.

I'm also sorry if I may have come across as narrow- minded with my comments- it's just the way I view ecop1001 and govt1105 after studying both units this semester. I maintain the utmost respect for Frank Stilwell and the Political Economy discipline- but it's not something I want to continue studying.
 

SmokedSalmon

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Re: Subject Reviews

My views on some science subjects

2nd semester subject:
BCHM 2072: Human Biochemistry is da bomb with Gareth Denyer!! If you decide to do this subject you'll love his lectures and never ever want to miss them. He records his lectures too & even takes photographs of the blackboard he writes on.
The downside are the pracs, run by MBLG demonstrators who are insane crabby bitches most of the time. If you get Andrea I am extremely sorry for you, never bother asking her for help, go straight to Debra if possible. The pracs are no where as exciting as first sem.. but you tolerate it in the end. And assignments are doable, just ensure you have a good lab group.

10/10 lectures... 4/10 for prac

1st semester subjects:

IMMU2101: Very interesting course, learn all about the body's biological defence system against foreign bacteria.
2 hours of lab work every 2nd week (that usually don't even go for 2 hours), but are on friday's only. 1 hour of tut every 2nd week, extremely easy, only have to do one presentation with 2-3 ppl in the last few weeks of semester on any medical topic that involves the immune system i.e. Diabetes.
One essay that you can start preparing and completing from week 1 and is due in week 10.
Although the lecture material tends to be all over the place... if you like the content then you'll love to study it.
Overall an immensely bludgy and carefree subject... but fascinating to ready about. 9.5/10

BCHM 3071: Genes: Very broad at the start, but don't despair... they specialise after a few weeks. Theory work was not too difficult apart from having 9am lectures. However the notes are online and lectures are recorded for your convenience. The pracs are fine as well and assignments are easily passable. However Gill Johnson (the year coordinator) is an immensely bitchy lady who won't help or guide you in anyway. So try and avoid her at all costs. Oh and by the way, she may seem friendly at first... but BEWARE! She'll stab you in the back.

6/10

Chem 3010: Biomolecules. Involves lots of DNA background for the first component of it all. So if you have done 2nd year MBLG and BCHM, you'll be passing this with flying colours. Lecture notes are online but you are FARKED if you don't go to chem lectures... you write all over the notes in the end. Organic reactions are involved here too unfortunately, so quite a bit of memorising... Good for people with photographic memory. Pracs are randomly allocated... 4 hours a week. looong... and boring!

8/10
 
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mma19

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Re: Subject Reviews

ENGL 1002- Narratives of Romance and Adventure
Ease: 7/10. As always there was a lot to read, but if you knew your stuff and were willing to read everything there was no problem. A lot of the assignment questions were quite broad, so there was a lot of latitude in what you wanted to argue or explore based on the text.
Lecturer: 10/10. Great lectures, both informative and genuinely interesting (and funny!) by Liam Semler. Even people I know who weren't that into the course enjoyed the lectures.
Interest: 8/10. Great texts, I found this much better in developing general English critical thinking skills about narrative and discourse than Engl 1025.
Overall: 9/10. Loved it.
 

stazi

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Re: Subject Reviews

IBUS2101 - International Business Strategy
Ease: 8/10. There weren't many readings, and nothing was very challenging.
Lecturer: 6/10. Whilst his material was fantastic, it was virtually impossible to concentrate on what he was saying, as he had a mechanical voice. Plus I had brogan distracting me.
Interest: 6.5/10. I've covered a lot of the stuff in other subs, and nothing really tickled my penis. i mean fancy.
Overall: 7/10. Not the best unit, but I suppose it's necessary for the major.
 

what971

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Re: Subject Reviews

SSaint said:
Here are mine for first semester:

ACCT1001 - Accounting IA
Ease: 8/10 Gets a little trickier at the end, but it's manageable
Lecturer: 3(7)/10 They got through the material well, too bad the lecturers are cunts
Interest: 7/10 It's relevant stuff, but a bit dry at times
Overall: 7/10

ECMT1010 - Bus. & Eco. Stats A
Ease: 6/10 Theres a reason why so many people fail
Lecturer: 5/10 Tig was nice, Murray's a tightarse and he speaks in a monotone, though i managed to learn shit during his lectures
Interest: 6/10 I hear 1020 is more interesting...
Overall: 5/10 Most boring course this semester by far

ECON1001 - Intro. Microeconomics
Ease: 8/10 The concepts were easy enough to grasp
Lecturer: 6/10 I had Natalia, if you could work with the accent it was alright
Interest: 9/10 I like economics
Overall: 8/10

CLAW1001 - Commercial Transactions A
Ease: 8/10 The topics weren't too difficult and were taught well
Lecturer: 9/10 Giuseppe is a champ
Interest: 6/10 The law isn't my cup of tea
Overall: 6/10
You don't like Abdul?
 

ujuphleg

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Re: Subject Reviews

Disclaimer: This is a HUGE post, so I suggest you just skip to what is relevant to you. I've done my best to be comprehensive and put in links where and when I could.

You'll also find that I place a huge emphasis on the lecturer - this is because I attend virtually all my lectures and so to me, the lecturer really makes or breaks the course. This isn't the same with everyone though.

Always remember these reviews are the views of a single student and don't necessarily apply for everyone.

As with everything, if you have a question of some sort at all, please don't hesitate to contact me via PM or chuck me an email at ujuphleg@gmail.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ECOP 1001 - Economics as a Social Science
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 10/10
Interest: 7/10
Overall: 9/10

Frank Stilwell is possibly one of the best lecturers you will have. Very funny guy, and presents material in a way which is engaging and interesting. Be weary of course, of the bias of any university lecturer. Frank, for all his legendariness, is no exception. As an Economic Advisor to the Australian Greens, be prepared for a strong politically leftwards bias in this course.

As for subject matter – ECOP 1001 provides a good, solid overview of different strands of economic thought, including classical Political Economy, Marxian Political Economy, Institutional Political Economy, Keynesian Political Economy, Neo-Classical Economic thought (often referred to as orthodox economics) as well as discussion about alternative Political Economy such as feminist and green.

Many students enrolled in the Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences will take this course, and it provides a broad overview of the discipline in general. No requirement is needed in terms of math, or previous experience with Economics as HSC level. Those who have taken Economics in the HSC may be placed at both an advantage and disadvantage. The advantages include that you will be familiar with terminology that arises from the course and your grasp of the Neo-Classical section will be excellent. The disadvantage is that the patterns of thinking are very different and a strict adherence to what has been taught at HSC level will possibly result in less than desirable results, if only because of the aforementioned left leaning of the course (and indeed, the entire department)


ECOP 1002 – Economy and Policy.
Ease: 5/10
Lecturer: 3/10
Interest: 3/10
Overall: 4/10

Gabrielle Meagher (who was the acting Chair of Department) wins my award for driest, most boring first year lecturer. In contrast to Frank, there is such a difference between their lecture styles. Most annoyingly, I found that Dr. Meagher treated us like 4 year olds, insisting upon absolute silence, attention etc. in her lectures. I mean, okay, most students will accord you that manners anyway, but she was tough on enforcement and, more annoyingly, difficult to listen to.

Again, Dr. Meagher’s bias lies with feminist political economy (her area of speciality) in particular, how oppressed and down-trodden women in Australia are (yes, hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice) Watch out for this in her lectures.

Speaking of lectures, each week was like a lets-see-if-I-can-beat-last-weeks-record-for-the-number-of-transparencies-I-can-put-up. It was, ridiculous. Tables and charts flowed freely, but unlike wine, there was not much fun had by all. If the situation can get more ridiculous, the statistics used in these lectures are mostly from around 1993, which is pathetic at tertiary level. When you consider HSC Economics textbooks are updated 4 times a year, you would expect that a research Professor such as Dr. Meagher could at least make new slides for the new millennium. Apparently this isn’t the case.

The course was difficult only because turning up to and staying away in lectures was difficult. For someone like moi, who is lazy and doesn’t do readings, the reader brick we had to purchase made a nice paperweight for all the help it was.

The redeeming factor for this course was my excellent tutor, Anna Samson, who at least tried to apply relevance to the material we were learning in lectures to current political and economic events.


ECOP 2011 – Economic Foundations of Modern Capitalism
Ease: 4/10 (but only if you stick to Marxian Political Economy, if not its more like 1/10)
Lecturer: 2/10
Interest: 3/10
Overall: 3/10

Joseph Halevi is an interesting character. Advance skill and copious quantities of caffeine are required to maintain consciousness in his lectures, as accent, monotone and dry subject matter combined do not make for a very appealing combination. However, the discussion on fairies and dragons was insightful and interesting.

Bias from Joseph lies in his Communist past – and hence, a great love for Marx. The course material is similar to ECOP 1001, except more intensively focused upon the ACTUAL economics rather than the theory. Indeed, the course is focused upon outlining the economic rationale behind each school of though – then systematically deconstructing the paradigm to prove how and why it is incorrect. It seems that the eventual conclusion of the course is again, a variation on the same thing

1)All schools of economic thought are deficient in accurately accounting for the human element in economic function.
2)Attempting to factor in this as such, inevitably leads to a deficient framework by which to analyse the economy effectively
3)Thus, Neo-classical Economics is still the best thing we’ve got, so put up and shut up.

There were copious quantities of algebra in this course as well, of which many of the students did not understand AT ALL. For a discipline which trumpets the fact that no maths skills are required, there was a large amount of algebra. Despite the tutors best efforts to emphasise that the need to understand all the algebra was not necessary, it seemed that making an effort to learn it is what separates the students in this course. This, again, is another reason why to stick to Marxian Political Economy in this course – it minimises the amount of algebra that needs to be learnt.




GOVT 1105 - Geopolitics
Ease: 6/10
Lecturer: 2/10
Interest: 4/10
Overall: 4/10

I didn’t like this course at all. A few reasons existed for this

1)I didn’t like Diarmuid Maguire at all. I found that he trailed off at the end of sentences, making it hard to listen and to follow a train of thought. He tended to mumble and his information often didn’t really correlate to the subject matter at hand.
2)The course content is interesting, don’t get me wrong. But the way its presented in lectures makes it look like mould, the tutorials don’t really further the information at all, the readings tend to be a little off kilter to the subject matter and the assessment material were COMPLETLEY off centre. Not to mention the final exam didn’t actually test what it said it would.
3)Geopolitics (as a school of thought) is largely defunct anyway, so studying it seemed to be a little pointless. Admittedly its making a comeback, but nonetheless, Diarmuid didn’t really point out the links or relevance at all.

I’ve found that people tend to fall into two categories with this course. They either love Diarmuid and hence, the course, or they hate him and the course.

Oh, he’s supposed to be a Neo-Marxist too – I didn’t really see much bias there, but then again, I slept through most of the lectures anyways so maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t, I have no idea.

The assessment for this unit was APPALLING. It was all over the shop. We were told that the exam content would come from the readings and tutorials – instead they were obscure facts here and there mishmashed from lectures or some readings. The major essays were also unrelated to course content.

GOVT 1202 – World Politics
Ease: 6/10
Lecturer: 3/10
Interest: 4/10
Overall: 5/10

This course was a theoretical introduction to the study of political science. The lecturer, Gil Merom, is very hard to understand, speaks very fast, with a very thick accent.

He is extremely knowledgeable and very smart – PhD from Cornell etc. It takes a lot of effort to maintain consciousness in his lectures so come prepared with strong coffee.

Seriously though, World Politics will put you in good steed for senior Government subjects, even if it is a labour of love. The theoretical foundations are handy to understand, although if you don’t fully get it I wouldn’t worry too much as they are covered again in the later years.

Like Geopol, World Politics should have been a great subject, but a combination of difficult lecturer, uninspiring tutor and bad time management on my part with the less than average assessment meant that the course as a whole was not enjoyable for me.

It seems though that all first year Government subjects are pretty bad. Please don’t let this deter you though. It gets better. Promise!

GOVT 2119 – South East Asian Politics
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 8/10
Interest: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

If you like facts and figures and you’re interested in South East Asia developmental issues then this is a really good course.

If you don’t mind a little raised voices either, then Dr. Lily Rahim is a pretty good lecturer as well. This is her area of expertise and she is good (she is the supervisor for the Honours students specialising in SE Asian Politics) with a comprehensive knowledge of the region, in particular, Singapore & Malaysia. She also has extensive knowledge about Islam and about the rise of militant Islam in South-East Asia in recent years.

The reason I say that a liking of facts and figures is needed is because the nature of the course, dealing with one country/topic per week, means that we speed along, cramming tonnes of information into a small pocket of time, without really analysing. It seems that a lot of facts are given without much analysis – although, as senior students, this is really our job I suppose.

Assessment was good. Tutorials are HEAVILY weighted in this UoS, with 25% on your presentation and paper alone. Assessment was all good, nothing nasty or scary and was heavily tied to the lecture material. Again, showing up to lectures and doing some readings is good enough to get you there.


GOVT 2445 – American Politics and Foreign Policy
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 9/10
Interest: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

By far the most useful unit of study I’ve undertaken at my time at University so far. Conducted by Dennis Phillips (no link!! Sorry!!), a lecturer from Macquarie University visiting USyd, he is a former Texan who has been living in Australia since the 1970’s. More importantly though, as Dennis is actually American, his perspective is that which is perhaps more accurate and more whole than say, the opinion of an Australian who had gone to study American politics.

He is also not without bias, but Dennis freely acknowledges them and indeed, gives his background to explain why this may be the case. For example, whilst being against the Bush Administration and critical of the administrations foreign policy directives, he can also state that he understands the staunch, Southern Republican voter because his parents are of that stock.

The course is basically set in two parts: domestic American Politics and American Foreign Policy. The latter section is not as good, only because time constraints meant that we weren’t able to study it in as much depth as required for such a vast topic. The topic is also, very contentious and ever-increasing so a comprehensive coverage was always going to be difficult.

The first section though is really really good. It explains a lot about America, the psyche of Americans and how and why their political system works. By studying the foundations of American politics, we can learn a lot about the current situation, the current Administration and, to a lesser degree the effect that is has on the world.

Lectures were excellent (although again, the lectures for the Foreign Policy component were virtually word for word the same as the text), tutes were great and the readings were useful. Assessment wasn’t exactly easy but it was good it didn’t really tie in with what we were learning but it built upon it well.

I would thoroughly recommend this course to ALL government students.



HSTY 1045 – Modern European History 1750 -1914
Ease: 7/10
Lecturer: 7/10
Interest: 5/10
Overall: 7/10

Robert Aldrich specialises in French History and History of Sexuality – these are where the two biases in the course lie. This is not to say that without a grasp of these topics you won’t get anywhere – the bias is no where near as strong as it is in the Political Economy department. Rather, you’ll find that, particularly with France, this is where Dr. Aldrich takes most of his examples.

Course content was fairly engaging, if a little dry at times. My tutor was an “interesting” character to say the least – nothing much was learnt in his tute, and as most of us didn’t do the readings either, we spent a lot of time just looking at each other, or arguing about things mostly unrelated to the topic.

Assessment wasn’t difficult. Essay was fairly stock standard – read the question, read at least 2 of the books on the suggested reading list and answer the question directly and wholly. You should be fine.


HSTY 1044 – Twentieth Century Politics and Culture
Ease: 6/10
Lecturer: 7/10
Interest: 5/10
Overall: 5/10

Chris Hilliard took this course last year for whatever reason, as Dr. Judith Keene was mostly unavailable for most of semester. In the end, the one lecture we had with Dr. Keene was so bad (dry, boring, condescending and dull) that it made us all feel very grateful to have Dr. Hilliard. His lectures were fairly interesting, certainly engaging enough to make you want to turn up.

In terms of content, the course was very similar to that of HSTY 1045, and certainly without as much emphasis on politics or culture as the unit of study title would lead you to believe.

Again, the assessment was fairly straightforward as well, with no kinks or unpleasant surprises. (I really should have wrote all my first year reviews when I could still remember everything!!)




PHIL 1011 – Reality, Ethics and Beauty
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: DBM – 10/10 West – 8/10 MacArthur 3/10 (but I didn’t like his subject)
Interest: 6/10 (offset by Beauty, which I didn’t like, otherwise an 8/10)
Overall: 7/10 (again, offset by the yeuky bits)

This course is essentially your sampler plate for the wonderful world that is philosophy. As an introductory, first year course, the delights to sample are: metaphysics (which deals with what is real and what isn’t), ethics (which deals with what is right and wrong) and aesthetics (which deals with what art is…..)

Metaphysics (Reality)
David Braddon-Mitchell comes and equal first to Frank Stilwell in best lecturer stakes. He is a brilliant speaker, engaging, entertaining and making the information which needs to be divulged a pleasure to learn. However, for those of you who like details which you can sink your teeth into, Metaphysics is not the kind of subject for you. It deals primarily in hypotheticals, often asking “what if” ‘s to give possible scenarios many different situations.

The major essay in this course is derived from the metaphysics section so a good idea of what metaphysics is all about (which shouldn’t be hard if you go to lectures) is advisable, as the essay makes up 30% of the course. (although the essay plan which precedes it is worth 10% so really, Metaphysics has a 40% weighting)

Ethics (well…. Ethics)
Caroline West (who is not the same Caroline West from Sex Life) was, for me anyway, a fairly good lecturer. Some people think that she was crap, or rather, that her subject matter was crap. Either way, she was no where near as bad as what was to come.

This section of the course is worth 2 essays and 30% of the course, assessment of which occurs in the final exam.

From an educational perspective, the ethics section is useful because it brings up words and themes that you will, inevitably encounter in other areas of study – phrases like cultural relativism which may arise in other, social science type subjects, are philosophically explained here. If you got impatient with the wishy-washyness of Metaphysics, Ethics only gets worse.

Aesthetics (Beauty)
What is beautiful and what isn’t? How does one define beautiful? How does one ascertain the true meaning behind art itself?

If you like that kind of thing, good on you. For the vast majority of us though, we hated this section. Jhakka and I went to the first of this lecture series and didn’t attend another lecture the whole semester. The lecturer, David Macarthur managed to make dry subject matter unbearable, and made airy-fairy subject matter stratospheric.

Luckily, cramming as much information from scant readings 2 hours before the exam can scrape you through find. Its so vague that it doesn’t really matter anyway. This section also accounts for 30%, so if you don’t like Beauty, but like the idea of the other two, work really hard in the others to offset this.



PHIL 1010 – Society, Knowledge and Reason
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: Tim Rayner 8/10, Nick Smith 3/10, Stu!! 9/10
Interest: 5/10 (taking into account Knowledge, otherwise, 9/10)
Overall: 6/10 (again, taking into account Knowledge, otherwise it’s a 9/10)’

So again, this course is another cheese plate of philosophy, essentially covering Political Philosophy, Epistemology and basic Logic. For myself, personally, Epistemology was about as interesting as watching grass grow, so if you factor in MY own personal bias (which is that I love politics and everything about it) you can see that my opinion of the course may be just slightly screwed.

Tim Rayner was not exactly the most fabulous lecturer I ever had, but he was good enough to keep me doing the subject into second year. He was a clear, concise and informative speaker and for someone like myself, doing a government degree, this section of this UOS was EXTREMELY helpful in providing a solid foundation for a deeper understanding of my area of expertise. The essay for this topic is again, worth 40% (including the plan) so paying a little attention is advisable

Nick Smith was BORING. I mean, really boring. He wasn’t engaging and, as a typical academic, laughed at his own jokes, which left the rest of the lecture hall going “huh?!” Unfortunately, unlike Aesthetics, this section was harder to bullshit in the exam so it’s a choice between two evils – sitting through boring as all buggery lectures or doing boring as all buggery reading. The choice is yours.

Stu and the Reason section was great. (unfortunatley I cannot find a link for him!! :() Stu was funny and engaging and the humour he tried to inject into lectures (no matter how cheap/cheesy) made an otherwise dry topic rather enjoyable. The section deals primarily with the structure of an argument, fallacies etc. so it is very very useful, especially when trying to deal with people like waf or Phanatical on these forums :p



PHIL 2634 – Democratic Theory.
Ease: 8/10
Lecturer: 8/10
Interest: 9/10 (because I like Politics but you should do if you’re going to do this unit anyway.)
Overall: 8/10

This subject was a deeper exploration into the “Society” section of PHIL1010 and was fantastic in the investigation of social contract theory, majoritarianism, utilitarianism etc. It does, focus primarily on democracy, its origins and the aspects of it and not so much on anything else (hence, the name of the unit) Its second semester counterpart, Contemporary Political Philosophy is more focused on a broader range of ideology if that is more your thing.

Duncan Ivison is a good lecturer. Because the class size is relatively small, he’s able to interact with the class using a combination of slides and the black board. He is Canadian and is actually a visiting fellow from the University of Toronto, which means that many of his empirical examples are, naturally, drawn from Canadian examples.

I felt that assessments in this topic didn’t really allow for you to do much research – Ivison preferred to merely test us on the content of the reader, which is fine if you are a lazy sort of person, but not so good if you enjoy the research aspect of essays.

There is no final exam for this unit, but just a take-home exam worth 40% which literally can be done with just your reader and a word-processor.

Another disadvantage to this unit was the lack of WebCT, meaning that slides are e-mailed to the class on a weekly basis as well as the tutorial papers from that week. Just means more e-mail really, but its still a little annoying nonetheless.

I strongly advise only taking this topic if you have an interest (academic or otherwise) into politics, because if not, it’s a real snore. This is the same with most Senior Units though, unless you possess an interest, there isn’t any real reason to do it as the units are very much more specialised.

 

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